Marketing is a process of trial and error – of building a plan as carefully as possible, measuring the results, and then iterating to improve. In the increasingly competitive MSP landscape, however, you only have so many resources and so much time to make an impact. If you’re creating content to establish thought leadership and build an audience in your region, you need to know it has the best possible chance of success. You can’t afford to throw money at the wall and hope it sticks.
Our friends over at the ChannelE2E blog say it best, with their write up of Forrester’s 2018 report:
(image credit: ChannelE2E)
That’s why a smarter, more conversion-oriented approach to marketing content is so important. By measuring the results of everything you publish and identifying how and when it works and then adjusting a few key things, you can build a more effective content plan that converts more leads. Here are four tips you can implement that will help make this possible.
Know Your Audience and Create Accordingly
One of the thorniest issues an MSP faces when producing content is writing to your audience.
As technical experts who tackle complicated problems every day, it’s challenging to present actionable advice to people who don’t have the same background. Instead of your potential customers, you’re writing for your peers.
To avoid this, think about the people you want to read the content you produce.
Where do they live? What do they deal with every day? What are their biggest worries and concerns related to IT and cybersecurity? What about business in general? What type of words and phrases do they use when you talk to them?
Answer these questions, and you’ll have a much better sense of what will and won’t resonate. Go the extra mile by spending time on relevant websites, social media accounts, forums, and blogs that target small business owners and talk about some of these issues. It will help you better understand their mindset.
Carefully Select Topics that Relate to Core Problems
Content needs to be relevant to the needs of your audience. Something can be exciting and generate a significant amount of traffic, but still, lack relevance and fail to drive conversions.
To identify what is most relevant, and more importantly, useful to the business owners and operators you want to engage with, focus on the pain points you’ve already identified. What questions do you see these people asking on forums and social media? What problems are they discussing over and over again? How can you answer those questions?
Your goal is to drive engagement – to capture attention and get someone to take action after they read your article. Then your article needs to facilitate that action.
Provide Value in Your Content
Seems like a no brainer, right?
You’d be surprised. A significant number of businesses (of all types) fall into the trap of self-promotion with their content.
Every article has an angle – a selling point you want to push. But people are desensitized to advertising. If they sense that your article is trying to sell, even if the content is useful, they will leave. To avoid this happening, you need to be as helpful as possible in your content and move the selling to the end.
That means identifying and solving a problem they have – answering a common question about cloud migration or recent security patches for popular software.
It means educating your readers – sharing information about new security vulnerabilities or major hacks affecting lots of businesses.
It means giving an informed opinion – showcasing your expertise by explaining directly what your company thinks about specific platforms or hardware solutions.
Give them something they can’t get on a competitor’s website and do it in a way that provides actionable value they can benefit from immediately.
Offer Something Enticing
Finally, there is the offer – the carrot at the end of the stick that you use to entice visitors to complete a form and engage with your team.
A Contact Us form isn’t enough. Your offer needs to be something attractive enough to encourage new visitors – people who have never visited your website or engaged with your company – to provide their contact information. It could be:
- A newsletter subscription, with a clear outline of the advice and tips you’ll offer and when you’ll send them.
- An eBook you’ve written on one of the pain point topics you identified in steps 1 or 2.
- A webinar you are holding to discuss an upcoming change or new technology of high interest.
- A direct call to action for a consultation or call to discuss their problems.
The type of content you publish will determine which of these is the most effective conversion point, but it should clearly outline what’s in it for them. Clearly define what the visitor will get by completing that form, include social proof from others who have downloaded the document or engaged with your company, and publish any numbers or facts that support your claims.
The bottom line – be as direct as possible and communicate what people will get when they fill out that form.
The Secret to Truly Successful Content Marketing
Content marketing is all about providing value to your readers. It’s about identifying what they need, why they need it, and how you can offer it in a concise package that provides immediate value.
That’s hard to do, but you have an advantage in that you know your customer well. You know what questions local business owners are asking. You see what trends they are most concerned with and the tools they are considering for their businesses.
By moving past the hard sell and focusing on these fundamental questions about how and why you do what you do, you can build a stronger relationship with visitors to your website and convert more of them to prospects than you did in the past.
If you’re interested in learning how Pronto can help get your content marketing machine off the ground, schedule a time to chat with us 1:1 here. We offer custom email, ebook, and blog content that’s written to speak to your audience (we need your input, of course).